I have been thinking about traditions lately and why there seem to be little trust in the traditions we were supposed to hold dare. In return, elders are quick to point out how children of nowadays disregard traditions to embrace science.
Today, I remember Yoruba tradition of Oku r’iro. Oku r’rio usually happens when enough people in the community suspect the death of a loved ones is caused by another person in the community usually by spiritual powers. The deceased will be ‘ro’ so as to come back and take revenge on all those who caused his death.
The ‘ro’ here means that the throat of the dead will be slit and the knife tied to the hand and buried together. The same knife, it is believed is meant to be used to serve revenge on those responsible for his demise. The process of Oku r’iro varies and it is believed to work, if the spirit of the departed is very strong, all those involved in the death of the departed will die in a matter of days after the final burial.
Why do we question traditions?
Several years a go, a family member died after a brief illness, he was about fourteen years old. His death was a huge shock to his family so they decided to ‘ro’ his corpse.
In Yorubaland, unless the cause of death is as a result of prolonged illness or auto accident, lightening, flood etc usually sudden death is blamed on someone in the community.
For the ritual, I learnt there were lots of sacrifices to be performed, however the crucial part is that a piece of kitchen knife is placed in the corpse’s hand before burying. This knife is the tool that the spirit would use to fight the killers.
I was about nine years old the time I first heard about this rituals so I believed all that was said. Seven days passed and no report of ghost taking revenge so I wondered the credibility of this ritual.
Now as adult, I wondered how this belief came to be in the first place. How could anyone believed a dead person has ability to rise again and take revenge of any kind?
Is Oku r’iro another tradition that can not be proved it worked so safe to leave it in the past it belonged?
Has anyone heard about Oku r’iro and whether it has ever worked?
** Map of the Yoruba Country